Woonsocket, RI – Fire alarm dispatched a first- alarm assignment just before noon on Feb. 4, to 49 Hillsdale St. for a house fire.
Hillsdale Street is dead end with single family dwellings located in the city's east side. The entire region was also covered with 30” of snow hampering fire suppression efforts.
Captain Steven Bilodeau found heavy fire conditions in the breezeway and garage of a one-and-a-half story occupied Cape Cod style house.
A working fire was transmitted alerting all companies that they would be going to work. Tower 2 was set up in front of the dwelling in case they where needed for aerial operations.
Firefighters aboard Engine 3 advised they had a mechanical issue.
Engine 1 should have been the fourth due pump by running cards was now the first due. The crew pulled up the dead end just behind Tower 2, grabbed the hydrant in front of the involved dwelling, and hand jacked a few lengths of LDH supply line to establish water supply.
Firefighters from Engine 1 and 3 stretched in 1 3/4” attack lines to start the initial attack on the breezeway and garage. Tower 2's crew used their K-12 saw to open the aluminum garage door with a triangle cut.
After getting the bulk of the breezeway knocked, firefighters then worked on the garage and interior of the living area.
Primary searches were conducted in the dwelling under heavy smoke and heat as reports of a possible unaccounted female resident were given to command. It was determined later she was not in the house.
The OIC requested Blackstone, MA Ladder 1, Cumberland Engine 41, to the scene to act as the F.A.S.T. team as Woonsocket's Ladder 1 was just closed four days prior by the city due to budget crisis.
Rescue 1's crew stretched in back up lines and then had to tend to one of their own who was overcome by heat exhaustion.
Crews on the second floor reported that they were encountering extreme heat and rolling flames as the advanced from the stairway.
There was also a large fire load of personal belongings on the second floor. The knee walls on side
Interior operations commenced by aggressively opening walls and ceilings exposing the fire traveling the void spaces.
The involved areas were opened up and hose lines quickly stopped the spread of the running fire. Extensive overhauling continued for hours after the OIC gave the under control transmission to the fire alarm office.
The Rhode Island State Fire Marshal's Office assisted the Woonsocket Fire Marshal with origin and cause.
One firefighter was transported for heat exhaustion and there were a few minor slips and falls due to ice and snow.
Mutual aid from Cumberland, Lincoln, North Smithfield, and Bellingham, MA covered the empty firehouses in the city.